Today’s post was written by Austin Recovery Outreach & Marketing Assistant, Caitlin Quinn. The blog post today looks at the Drug Enforcement Agency’s recent findings on the nation’s increasing problem with prescription medication drug abuse and the initiative to stop it.
Have you ever heard of Take-Back Day, as in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day? With the country’s recent heavy rise in prescription drug abuse, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is trying to understand how this dangerous trend escalated so quickly. Short answer: it looks like the drugs are just too easy to access. You may have guessed it, but most black market medication is legally obtained from doctors. The remainders of pills in our medicine cabinet is then very often given or sold to family and friends to abuse.
The DEA hired Quest Diagnostics to provide statistics of prescription drug abuse in a sample of all ages and incomes, both men and women. Researchers studied 76,000 urine samples taken in doctors’ offices and at Quest patient centers. Looking at patients’ prescriptions as well as the amount prescribed by their doctor, Quest compared their findings to what was actually found in the urine sample. Within that sample, they found that 63% of the patients who were prescribed medication disobeyed doctor’s orders. Around 40% were found skipping dosages of their prescriptions, either because the patients couldn’t afford the cost or instead chose to sell them illegally. More, in 60% of the samples, they found medications that were not prescribed to the patents such as painkillers, sedatives, or amphetamines.
The DEA’s fourth annual initiative to stop easy access to an abundance of powerful pills will be tomorrow at locations nationwide. DEA officers will be collecting and destroying your unused medications from 10am-2pm tomorrow. Just last year, the DEA claims to have collected almost half a million tons of pills from across the country. With more than sixteen million Americans abusing prescription drugs in 2009, it is a good opportunity to help protect loved ones from a dangerous and addictive medicine cabinet. To find your Take-Back Day drop-off location, click here.
Wall Street Journal. (2012). Study Shows Widespread Misuse of Prescription Drugs. Retrieved from http://blogs.wsj.com
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Prescription Medications. Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov
Bangor Daily News. (2010). Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is Saturday. Retrieved from http://www.bangordailynews.com